The beginning of Tric!

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What is this crazy thing??

The beginning of Tric

Oh, it’s just the beginning of Tric!

The beginning of Tric

What you see so far represents the right-half of the back neck, plus the right shoulder, and a little bit of the left-half of the back neck. It’ll make more sense when you see the next picture:

The beginning of Tric

The “try it on as you go!” aspect of top-down knitting is just a little bit weird at this stage of the process, but it does look like it’s going to fit me well!

This is a very new way of knitting a sweater for me. It’s knit using Åsa Tricosa’s “Ziggurat” technique, and it’s fascinating! I watched the episode of Fruity Knitting where Åsa went into detail about each step of the process, so I have a decent grasp on how it’s all going to go together in the end, but it’s still a little mind-boggling at first.

So far, I’ve already learned a lot of new skills! She has you cast on using the “winding cast-on”, which is a way of casting on that lets you knit outward from either side – perfect for something like the back of a collar. In the photo below, I’m pointing to the center of the back neck, where I first knit outward to the right, and then knit leftward:

The beginning of Tric

In addition to the winding cast-on, I also learned how to do German Short-Rows! I’d heard of them before, but had never actually done them, and Åsa very helpfully includes links to technique tutorials in her pattern, so it was quite easy to learn them and they seem to work really well! I still haven’t quite worked out in my mind HOW they work so well, so sometime I want to think through the stitch geometry a little more, but they’re very cool and super easy.

I also learned how to do Åsa’s version of the crochet cast-on to add those stitches for the right shoulder, and while slipping stitches is not “new” in any way, the way that the inner edge of the collar is created as a tiny bit of double-knitting is brilliant, and I’m totally going to steal the idea the next time I make something that needs a nice edge.

The beginning of Tric!

So far, so good! Soon enough it’ll start looking a bit more like a sweater in these posts, I promise!

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Finished Farmhouse Cardigan!

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I was determined to finish this sweater by the end of the week, and I succeeded!

Farmhouse Cardigan

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Farmhouse Cardigan
Yarn: Beaverslide Worsted in “Bracken”; about 5 skeins
Needles: Size 8s
Time to knit: a little over a month, but with a couple of weeks off while I was up in Wisconsin

I’m really delighted with how it turned out – and I’m so thrilled that my experiment with double-knit pockets worked well!

Farmhouse Cardigan

I make such dorky faces when I pose for self-timer photos!

The other deviation I made from the pattern was to add a little bit of waist-shaping; I did two pairs of double-decreases, spaced evenly apart from the center back, and then did double-increases to get back to the full width before I reached the underarm. I had a hard time getting a good photo, but you can kind of see them here:

Farmhouse Cardigan

I have a bit of a swayback, and this kind of shaping helps it to “hug” that curve in my spine a bit more when I wear it, instead of ballooning out.

 

Farmhouse Cardigan

That lower button isn’t actually sewn on crooked, I promise!

 

I found the coolest buttons in my drawer-of-random-things, and luckily, I had enough for this cardigan! I sewed them on using the leftover yarn from my green Willow Cowl, which doesn’t *quite* match, but I think it looks nice.

Farmhouse Cardigan

Shorts + Heavy Wool Sweater: kind of an odd look, but it’s hot!

I think this cardigan is going to be really great come winter; it’ll look nice with all of my grey tops, but also with some of the greens and light blues that I tend to wear, too.

Farmhouse Cardigan

And it matches my eyes, too!

Farmhouse Cardigan

I’ve already cast on for my next sweater, but you’ll have to wait til tomorrow for a post about that!

so many ideas, so little time!

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So, remember how yesterday I wrote about how the logic of brioche + double knitting was starting to click for me? Well, that click was enough for my creative brain to start churning out idea upon idea of how I could combine the two in knit designs, so I just had to get out some scrap yarn (this is spare Beaverslide Sport/Sock weight) and play for a bit:

Just playing around

The idea that came to my mind first was a brioche-stitch cardigan with a double-knit hem, cuffs, collar, and button band. My swatching tells me what I already knew – there will have to be some major stitch-count changes from hem to body for that to work, but a double-knit button band, knit along with the cardigan, would be quite easy. I still have a little bit of playing around to do in terms of how wide I’d want to make it, and how to incorporate neat-looking buttonholes, but I think it would be awesome!

Just playing around

I’m imagining this in TWO colors – a reversible cardigan!

Of course, the very next idea that popped into my brain is that such a cardigan could be completely reversible…and that if two-color brioche + double-knitting were used rather than a single color, you could have two DIFFERENT cardigans in one!

And then my brain thought about doing a pullover instead of a cardigan (I’d have to learn how to brioche in the round, since I don’t currently know how to do that!) and making a reversible 2-color brioche pullover with double-knit polka dots or stars. OMG, wouldn’t that be so cool?

And just like that, my brain had planned 3-4 sweaters. Which is both really cool, and also really NOT cool, because brioche + double-knitting is quite time-consuming and time? There really is not enough of it in the day for all of the ideas my brain likes to come up with.

Speaking of ideas and plans, shortly before our trip to Wisconsin, I got the Strange Brew book, and y’all, it is SO GREAT. The yoke recipes make my yoke-loving designer brain so happy, and are giving me a lot of ideas about how I might be able to adjust my Octopus Yoke design to make it a pattern that I could publish in multiple sizes! And I think it’ll be useful for thinking through the sizing if I ever actually publish the top-down Stripes! cardigan (last seen here) as a pattern in multiple sizes, too! (Again though: when?? There’s less than a month before my schedule starts ramping up again in anticipation of Fall Semester!)

I just got this book and it is making my yoke-sweater loving heart so happy and filling my brain with ideas for what I could do differently if I ever do want to publish a pattern for the Octopus Yoke sweater or other designs. The yoke design “recipes” and

And the patterns in the book are fantastic, too. I’m especially enamored with Compass, and I think that instead of knitting Rusty Tuku with my Juniper Beaverslide Sport/Sock yarn (plus the leftovers from Vita de Vie), I’ll probably knit Compass. And I also really like Icefall, and could make one from the cone of Bartlettyarns sport weight in dark brown that I picked up the last time I was at Rhinebeck, plus one or more of the miniskein sets I picked up there. So there’s another two sweaters my brain is already planning for me, in addition to the possible reknits of the Octopus Yoke and the Stripes! cardigan. Oh, brain, you overwhelm me!

The next sweater on my needles, though, is going to be Tric by Åsa Tricosa, because I’m determined to try that new sweater construction technique before the summer is over. And I have the whole list of other sweaters that I was planning before this summer started, too. OMG. Too many sweater ideas!

Oh, and there’s one more thing that’s making my brain brim with ideas…

I have a new sewing machine!!!

I’ve been saving up for a new sewing machine for awhile, because my old one hasn’t been working (remember all the hand-sewing I’ve had to do?), and even when it WAS working, it was not a very pleasant one to sew on. I read a bunch of reviews, asked friends, decided on the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 and then got very lucky to find that it was on sale last week, so I got it! I still need to clear some space down in our basement for my sewing table (the table is set up, but it has boxes and other junk piled on top of it!) but then I’m going to try to really learn how to sew, hopefully starting with a Dress No. 1 (or several). I know I have the pattern, but I’m not sure where it ended up after I move, so I’m going to look for it for awhile and if I don’t find it, I’ll just order another copy – I don’t mind giving Sonya Philip a little more of my money!

So anyway, that’s where my brain is…absolutely full to the brim with ideas, and definitely not enough time to make them all happen as fast as my brain wants them to. Deep breaths, self. The ideas will keep. (I hope.)

project progress!

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I made it happen: as of this morning, there are now TWO sleeves completed for the Farmhouse cardigan!

two sleeves!

Today is actually on the chilly side, and rainy. That’s a welcome break from the incredible heat we had over the weekend (thank goodness for air conditioning!), but kind of a bummer for taking photos.

two sleeves and a rainy day.

I’m looking forward to joining the yoke together and finishing off this cardigan – I do think I’ll be able to do that before the end of the month!

And I’m making progress on my brioche + double knitting project, too:

Light side (2/3rds of the way through pattern repeat)

Light Side (yes, there’s a tiny blip of the dark color in the light color column on the far right edge; I’m just gonna let that be my “rare stitch“!)

I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the pattern repeat, and the logic of it is really starting to click. I’m really wrapping my brain around how double knitting + brioche go together, in that both involve slipping every other stitch – it’s just that in double knitting, you carry the working yarn behind or in front of the stitches you’re slipping (in between the layers) whereas in brioche, you’re wrapping it around the stitch that you’re slipping, giving it a little “shawl”.

Dark side (2/3rds of the way through pattern repeat)

Dark Side – I love these dark purples and blues!

I’ve even managed to fix mistakes! It’s not so bad, for example, if you realized that you treated a slipped stitch as if it were double-knit, instead of brioche – that working yarn strand, as a kind of “float”, is still hanging out behind or in front of the stitch and can be lifted up on to the needle to do the brk or brp stitch. I mean, you wouldn’t want to do that all the time (it would mess up your tension) but as an occasional fix, it works. It’s so nice to know how to fix something, rather than being stuck, or having to rip everything out. It’s incredibly freeing once you can read your knitting and really understand the geometry of how the stitches are constructed, because mistakes aren’t so scary anymore!

Here’s what the dark side of the scarf, which is my favorite side, looks like when I stretch it out a bit:

Dark side, slightly stretched

I just LOVE those dark purples and blues so much, especially with the little pops of the light robin-egg blue. The color combination is turning out even more beautiful than I imagined it would! And I’m also really glad that I’m using heavier yarn than is called for; when I look through the project photos on Ravelry, I notice that the projects I like best were done in worsted weight, rather than sport. There’s a fullness to the stitches, and a solidity to the double-knit sections, that I think you just don’t get (at least, not on size 4 needles) if you’re using lighter-weight yarn. In any case, I’m just absolutely delighted with how this project is turning out, and I’m so glad I decided to dive into it. I have no idea when I’ll finish – considering that I’m making a scarf in which each row is effectively knit TWICE, it might be awhile!

two-color brioche + double-knitting = fun!

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I ripped out my first attempt at Paris’s Brioche Scarf and restarted on size 4 needles, and that turned out to be the right call…I’m delighted with the fabric that I’m getting now!

Light-side of Paris's Brioche Scarf

Light Side!

The combination of two-color brioche and double-knitting is blowing my mind in the best way!

Dark Side of Paris's Brioche Scarf

Dark Side!

I really feel like I’ve already kind of “leveled up” my ability to read my knitting…I’m getting the hang of telling when I should be brioching, and when I should be double-knitting, and I can feel things clicking into place in my brain as I develop a better understanding of the geometry of it all.

Two-sided!

Both Sides!

And I’m just absolutely smitten with the two-sidedness of it – I think I might like the dark side a bit more than the light side, but both look great, and I’m having a lot of fun!

Briochestash :)

Briochestash! :)

sleeve the first: complete!

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I promised a post about sweater progress, so here I present to you: a sleeve!

I have very long arms.

I have very long arms; I’m just under 5’4 but have the armspan of someone who’s 5’9

I finished the first sleeve on my Farmhouse Cardigan a couple of days after we got back home from our trip to Wisconsin. It was nice to get back to the larger projects again!

Sleeve number 1, complete!

Yeah, I was totally stabbing myself in the boob with that dpn. Whoops.

I always have to knit at least an inch or two longer than patterns call for because of my disproportionately long arms, but at this gauge (4sts/inch), that really doesn’t take very long at all. Stockinette-in-the-round is great for mindlessly knitting while watching a TV show or listening to a podcast; my new two-color brioche + double-knit scarf definitely requires more attention than that!

So anyway, there’s where I am with the Farmhouse Cardigan – finished with sleeve number one, and about to cast on for sleeve number two. Hooray!

Sleeve number 1: complete!

I’m really pleased with the fit on this sleeve – it’s close-fitting but not tight.

I’m hoping that by next week, I’ll have the second sleeve finished and can knit on the yoke – maybe I’ll have a new sweater before the end of the month!

a new project!

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A new-to-me discovery this summer has been the Fruity Knitting podcast. I can’t remember how I came across it in the first place, but since the semester ended, I’ve been watching older episodes while I knit once I’ve finished whatever work I need to get done, and have been really enjoying it – enough that I decided I should become a patron. In the most recent couple of episodes, they introduced a KAL centered on “Scary New Techniques”. Well, I’m a pretty fearless knitter, so there really aren’t any techniques that scare me per-se, but one in particular that I’m interested in, but have never done, is two-color brioche. (For that matter, I can only think of one time, and it was well over a decade ago, that I’ve even done ONE-color brioche). And ever since I saw the Paris’s Scarf pattern, which combines two-color brioche with double-knitting (another technique that I’m fascinated but fairly inexperienced with), I was smitten.

Planning a new project!

In my stash, I had a couple of skeins of Fibre Company Canopy Worsted in “Quetzal” that had no project assigned to them, and another couple of skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in “Whales Road” with the same status. I really like the way that the slightly blue-streaked purple looks like the lighter robin-egg blue color! The pattern calls for sport-weight yarn, but I’m going to give it a go with these light-worsted yarns and cross my fingers that it works!

The first step was learning how to do the two-color Italian Cast-On, but that turned out not to be too difficult, because it’s very nearly the same as the tubular cast-on that I use when knitting 1×1 rib in a single color. The set-up rows took a little more focus, but look!

The beginning of the scarf!!

I might be just a BIT excited about this!

I figured it out!! The “blip” you see in the middle (with two light blue stitches in a row) isn’t an error – it’s the set-up for the double-knit part of the pattern. It’s mind-blowing in the best way to figure out how double-knitting and brioche go together!

Look, I made brioche! (Plus a tiny bit of double-knitting in the center)

But what you might notice in the photos is that my scarf is looking WIDE. I had thought that I should use larger needles because I’m knitting with heavier-weight yarn, so cast on and started with size 6’s, but now that I’m seeing what I’ve knit so far, I think I need to rip it out and start over again on size 4’s like the pattern calls for, because my stitches feel a little bit more loosey-goosey than I’d like, and I’m also hoping for a slightly less wide scarf.

But hey, it’s not wasted time – I’ve (sort of) started to wrap my brain around how two-color brioche works!

Light side!

“Light-Side” Row

Dark side!

“Dark-Side” Row

And the whole point of the New Technique KAL is to develop muscle-memory for a technique that’s new to you, so I’ve already started that process even if I’m going to have to rip out what I’ve done so far.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about my sweater projects – I just want to have a smaller, more portable project, too, and couldn’t resist joining the KAL! I’ll have a post about sweater progress soon :)